The PandemicX Accelerator (PandemicX) is a six-month pilot program designed to build and scale technologies with businesses fueled by HHS data and healthcare innovation. This InnovationX initiative is jointly sponsored by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and managed by MassChallenge HealthTech, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship through collaboration and development.
Between December 2021 and June 2022, in the inaugural PandemicX cohort, 15 teams of entrepreneurs connected their health start-ups with government leaders on HHS priorities like health equity and access to care in the MassChallenge Health Tech 2022 Partner Challenge. ONC and OASH InnovationX created PandemicX statements—each an innovation challenge area—designed to focus on start-ups and engage tech-sector collaborators. Participating start-ups designed and deployed digital solutions for public health with an emphasis on ensuring an equitable COVID-19 response and recovery for all.
A Call for Innovative Solutions
InnovationX created challenge statements for entrepreneurs to develop cutting-edge, data-driven solutions to national public health challenges, especially health equity and issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenge statements aligned to six HHS priorities:
- Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity by Design (CDC, OASH, ONC)
- Behavioral and Mental Health (ACF, CDC, OASH, ONC)
- Virtual Care (ACF, FDA, HRSA, ONC, CMS) Access to Care (ACF, CDC, HRSA, CMS)
- Price Transparency (OASH, CMS)
- Remote Monitoring and Testing (FDA, HRSA)
- Interoperability (FDA, ONC, CDC, CMS)
Challenge #1: Health Equity by Design
HHS would like to engage with start-ups developing technical solutions specifically designed to mitigate inequities in the access to, delivery, and quality of healthcare, or at least are deliberately factoring in these considerations into the design and development of their solution or services from the beginning.
Challenge #2: National Public Health Solutions
By identifying the top public health needs identified since January 2020, HHS would like to source start-ups to create a combination of community, environmental, and clinical solutions, including identifying scorecard indicators for success using public health solutions.
Challenge #3: Behavioral, Mental, Violence Prevention
HHS would like to team up with start-ups that can offer connections to behavioral and mental health resources and violence prevention resources at a local municipality, regional or national level.
Challenge #4: Socioeconomic Outcome Indicators
HHS would like to stratify economic income differences based on county and create visuals featuring the primary industry areas in the most low-income counties, highlighting the most impacted industries since January 2020.
Challenge #5: Community Resilience
HHS would like to team up with start-ups that utilize and exchange data targeted at supporting resiliency at a local municipality level and can address key public health challenges that worsened during the pandemic. These include but are not limited to suicide, invisible illnesses, domestic violence, substance abuse, and trauma.
The PandemicX 2022 Cohort
In late 2021 on behalf of HHS, MassChallenge sourced 1,000 start-ups through an application cycle, which used health equity and anti-bias processes. Over 800 submissions aligned with PandemicX statements—or HHS PandemicX innovation challenge areas—and 331 applications received full review. After multiple rounds of application review, HHS selected 15 of the most promising start-ups to participate in six months of MassChallenge HealthTech Accelerator programming. These 15 start-ups were the inaugural cohort of our HHS PandemicX pilot program between December 2021 and June 2022.
The inaugural cohort included:
- 15 Start-ups
- 4 Countries Represented
- 5 States Represented
- 66% BIPOC Founders
- 66% Female Founders.
These 15 start-ups accessed PandemicX curriculum, mentorship, resources, and other collaborations to scale their business and work towards creating solutions around eliminating disparities and inequalities. For more information on all start-ups, visit the MassChallenge 2022 HealthTech Cohort with PandemicX site.
PandemicX Additional Information
Press Releases and Blogs
- HHS Readout of the MassChallenge 2022 Verticals Application Launch Event with PandemicX (September 17, 2021)
- HHS Announces PandemicX Accelerator with Health IT Cohort to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities (December 20, 2021)
Events and Webinars
- MassChallenge 2022 Application Verticals Launch with PandemicX (September 9, 2021)
- PandemicX Accelerator: Cohort Showcase (February 9, 2022)
- MassChallenge HealthTech Health Equity Series 1 with PandemicX: Data (March 3, 2022)
- MassChallenge HealthTech Health Equity Series 2 with PandemicX: Government (April 20, 2022)
- PandemicX Start-Ups Demo Day 1 – to come (May 24, 2022)
- PandemicX Start-Ups Demo Day 2 – to come (May 26, 2022)
- MassChallenge HealthTech Health Equity Series 3 with PandemicX: Internationally - (June 2, 2022)
- MassChallenge HealthTech Finale with PandemicX – (June 15, 2022)
- PandemicX Accelerator Finale Event – (August 18, 2022)
Toolkit and Resources
- PandemicX Toolkit Resources Airtable with resources from federal agencies to help entrepreneurs get started with tackling HHS PandemicX innovation challenge areas
- PandemicX / MassChallenge Judging: Implicit Bias Training
- MassChallenge HealthTech digital health innovation hub, including PandemicX resources to support digital health startups